60822 Creek Road
Niles, MI 49120


Is it Spring yet??!! The way the weather has been this winter so far it is almost like winter and spring are fighting. December wasn’t that bad for at least my corner of the mitten. January was when things got bad! Wow did it get cold. I think we were colder than the northern part of lower Michigan for a change! February hasn’t been too bad except for the 12th when we had freezing rain and everything was covered in ice. Wasn’t a fun drive in to work that morning. It is only February 17th so I know there is plenty of time for winter to show up! We have about no snow on the ground and have some to be coming today though. Nothing to speak though really but we have more scheduled mid week. Spring is around the corner just by looking at what is coming in my mailbox lately. Seed catalogs and hatchery catalogs have been coming for the last week or more! If looking at these types of catalogs do not put you in the mood for Spring I don’t know what would!

This is the perfect time to be planning your gardens for the coming growing season. You need to have time to decide what you want to plant so you can be ready when the ground is ready for preparing and planting in the early summer. You want to look at the different varieties of each vegetable you intend to plant. Of course you have to be careful that you don’t plan too much for the size plot you have for planting. All your plants need their space and overcrowding is not a good thing in a vegetable garden. Many plants can spread out of the area that you think is enough and crowd into another area which causes problems for other plants not being allowed to grow right.

Don’t forget to plan what you would like to grow for the Agriculture Department Growing contests that are new in your Program Book. Be sure to check out the Program Book for all the class details and rules. I have changed a few of the classes from last State Session. I hope we will have a good turn out as this will give everyone in the Grange a chance to show what they can do! 

​​​An update to one of newest classes for this year’s State Session. I received clarification from the Indiana State Grange Ag Director since I borrowed a class from her list. It is the Winter Arrangement class. Sarah said that she should have inserted the word Dried at the beginning of the class. She said most of the previous entries have composed of baby’s breath, hydrangea and ornamental grasses. So if drying flowers is something you do well, here is a class for you. It wouldn’t have to be dried flowers only, I am flexible with this class at this time. 

​If you are looking to do a new planting in your yard this spring, here is something to think about when deciding what to plant. This is from an article from the October 2015 Tennessee Granger which borrowed from the New Jersey State Grange CGA Director. It is entitled Honey Bees.

​Bees of all kinds have been declining in numbers over the past few years. The reasons are many, but one of the most important is the lack of suitable plants from which bees can collect nectar and pollen all season long. About 1/3 of the food eaten by Americans come from crops pollinated by honey bees, including fruits, vegetables and nuts. You can help honey bees and native pollinators by planting bee-friendly plants in your garden. Here is a list of perennials to help get a bee garden started.

​Crocus, White Sweet Clover, Catnip,  Russian Sage, Mountain Mint Snowdrops,  Thyme, Purple Cone Flower, Anise Hyssop, Goldenrod, Autumn Joy Sedum

When a foraging bee discovers plants that are producing nectar or pollen, it returns to the hive to inform the other bees about the source. More bees then join the foraging. Bees prefer to work large patches of the same flower, so planting several of the same type of bee-friendly plants ensures a good source of forage. It is best to leave flowers on the plant until the blooms are spent, allowing the bees to make the most of each flower. Planting perennials that bloom at different times during the year insures a source of nectar throughout the foraging season. DID YOU KNOW: A honey bee visits up to 100 flowers on a single trip outside of the hive.

Well that is it for now. Good luck with your garden planning and happy growing until later!


Is it Spring, Summer, Winter?!? This spring has been very crazy for weather so far. I wonder what Summer will be like here in Michigan this year. My area of Michigan didn’t have much late snow like some areas but we sure are seeing the abnormal cooler temperatures for Spring time. Now the rain is coming to usher April out and bring May in.

How many of you have planted anything in your gardens yet? Things that could have been planted by know would be seed potatoes, onion sets, cold crops (cabbages, etc) and I even think carrots but not sure so please check before you plant them! When planning your garden spots, keep in mind the new Ag Classes that you can enter at this year’s Annual State Grange Session. Each class is open to Junior members on up to Subordinate members. Please check the Program Booklet for more details. Be sure to check out the Family Activities section as they put in a neat class in their Department having to do with Antique Agriculture items. Speaking of seed potatoes, we are going try growing potatoes in 5 gallon buckets this year! What a cool way of growing potatoes without having to worry about having enough land to do it in. We are going to be following a video that was found on the internet and they do a step by step process on how to do this type of growing. More to come later on how this goes once we get them planted.

​We are running behind at getting things done around the little farm this spring due to the crazy April weather. I have yet to get the chicken coop cleaned but that is because when I have the time it is either not nice weather or I am too tired and need to just rest! The pigs for my nephews and niece will be coming to the farm on April 27th and there is still things to prepare before they can come to the farm. The market goats have been here since April 14th and are adjusting well. The Young family has added to the family this spring. We brought to the farm 8 baby chicks! This is a new venture for us as they are in a brooder box in the garage with a heat lamp. They are so cute and we can’t wait for them to get big enough to move them to the “chicken crate” to finish growing into young pullets that can be safely put in with the 13 adult laying hens. 

Please be mindful that this is the time that the country roads and some State Highways will have slow moving farm vehicles on them. If it wasn’t for those farmers and their employees we wouldn’t have the opportunity to go to farmers’ markets or the grocery stores to get the needed foods to feed our families. Please give those big vehicles and tractors as much room as you can without causing problems for yourself or others.

With all this technology going into modern farms, the demand for skilled workers in the agriculture sector is rising. In 2015, the United States Department of Agriculture reported that jobs in food and agriculture outnumber degrees granted in those fields nearly two to one. Of those job opportunities, 27 percent are in science, technology, engineering or math.

Remember whenever possible please buy Local or Locally Grown / Made products! You are helping small farm families most of the time.

​Well that is it for now. Good luck with your garden planning and happy growing until later!